The Zuni Roll

PARISH CAFE & BAR: Curators of the Best Sandwiches in Boston #BostonStrong

Location: 361 Boylston St, Back Bay, Boston, MA; 493 South End, Massachusetts Avenue, Boston MA
Contact: +1 617-391-0501
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:00am
Official Website:
Facebook: Parish Cafe II
Instagram: parishcafe


PARISH CAFE and BAR is best known for offering the best sandwiches in Boston since 1992. Named after a cafe in the book “Love In Time of Cholera” by Gabriela Garcia Marquez, this four star restaurant’s concept is plain and simple. Twenty years ago, Owner Gordon Wilcox asked Boston’s famous chefs to each create a special sandwich for the Parish Cafe and Bar menu.

Parish Cafe and Bar

The sandwiches are then named after the chef and from the restaurant they came from. And every ingredient in these sandwiches were done from ground up. Today, chefs run after Wilcox to earn a spot in their menu, which is damn brilliant and an honor to be in. There are over 60 sandwich recipes that Parish Cafe keeps from chefs all around Boston and Parish Cafe can easily roll out a new sandwich special at any given day.

I liked that Parish Cafe’s concept is very unique. And as a sandwich person, this really made me excited to try out something that’s a staple in my everyday life. I would choose bread over rice, a thousand times.

I stumbled upon Parish Cafe and Bar while walking along the streets of Boylston Street in Back Bay, one of my favorite streets in Boston, next to Newbury Street. It has just opened a little after 11:00 in the morning and the cafe inside was already crowded due to the chilly weather. I then decided, it’s best to sit outside and enjoy the weather and the view.

(I was actually criticized by the staff that I chose a large round table all by myself. I was simply picking a spot where there was natural lighting where I can take better photos and with privacy. But I clearly saw why. Minutes later, there was a waiting line building up.)

The ZUNI ROLL by Norma Gillespie, Boston – $11.95

The Zuni Roll

As a highly recommended sandwich and a bestseller, I chose the ZUNI ROLL by Norma Gillespie from the menu. It was the most unconventional “sandwich” I ever had. Wrapped in a warm flour tortilla, the “sandwich” was stuffed with layers of smoked turkey breast, crisp bacon, chopped scallions, and dill Harvati cheese, and sitting under a bed of cranberry chipotle sauce you would mistake for a catsup.

It was a little to sweet for me, but contrasted with the turkey breast perfectly. The potato salad on the side gave a homey feel that’s comforting in my hungry tummy.

I was surprised I finished the whole Zuni Roll. It was really that delicious!

Cafe and Cocoa

Parish Cafe’s coffee menu says “Warm Up in the Morning”. To be honest, I was really looking for other coffee options along Boylston Street apart from Peets Coffee and Tea and Starbucks to counter the cold weather. And the appeal of Parish Cafe’s sweet location beckoned me.

Parish Cafe Bar

So along with the Zuni Roll, I ordered a nice Cafe and Cocoa, thinking it was a hot cup of coffee, that’s a good combination to my Zuni Roll sandwich.

Except it was a different kind of hot. Thanks to me not reading, my coffee was spiked with Patron X.O. Liqueur and cinnamon mixed in chocolate, and topped with whipped cream.

Parish Cafe Bar

So no, not really. I was fine after drinking the entire glass and removed the iciness I feel after being buffeted by 10 degree winds. It was warm and the kind of drink you’d want to have in Moscow, not Boston. But this is the kind of coffee that will spun a trend in a place where specialty coffee shops are starting to boom. (And evidently it’s starting to show in Refinery at Rockwell, Manila.)

I can’t wait to have my next sandwich at Parish Cafe.


[usrlist “Taste and Originality: 4” “Customer Experience: 3.5” “Value for Money: 3.5” “Brick and Mortar: 3.5”]